Health Coordinator Finds No Cases of MRSA In DeKalb County Schools

November 7, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

There are currently no cases of MRSA in the DeKalb County School System.

That from Dee Anna Persinger, School Health Coordinator, who briefly addressed the Board of Education Thursday night on steps that are being taken in the school system to guard against the infection. " We've taken all the necessary precautions in the prevention of staph infection and we have also gone beyond the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control. With all schools, the restrooms are being cleaned twice daily. Classrooms are being cleaned and disinfected with staph effective cleaners and disinfectants. I have met with all the principals and provided them with tool kits on antibiotic resistance. In that tool kit, I've given them links, the CDC facts sheet, and guidelines for nurses and custodians as far as how to handle the staph prevention. We've had an in-service with bus drivers. The supervisor and myself met with them and gave them a quick in-service on how to disinfect their buses. We have no confirmed cases of MRSA in the DeKalb County School System, as of right now."

Persinger added "The federal government has issued a statement that one in three people carry the staph infection. There's nothing to be alarmed about. It's always been an issue. It's a matter of personal hygiene, keeping your hands washed, and not sharing personal items."

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, MRSA or Methicillin–resistant staphylococcus aureus is a type of infection that is resistant to many antibiotics. MRSA skin infections are generally spread by skin-to-skin contact or by direct contact with the drainage from an infected wound. Research indicates 85% of all serious cases of the infection are associated with health care settings, while the remaining 15% of reported infections are considered community-associated. Community-associated MRSA can be spread by contact with contaminated surfaces or items such as sports equipment or personal hygiene items.

Signs and Symptoms:

Often an infection will look like a spider bite, a boil (large red, painful bump under the skin), a cut or blister that is swollen and filled with fluid, or a turf burn. It is important to report any suspicious skin infection to your health care provider immediately.

The Numbers:

In Tennessee, there were more than 1,800 invasive cases of MRSA in both 2005 and 2006. An invasive case occurs when the infection is found in organs other than the skin. As of September 30, 2007, there were 1,400 diagnosed cases of MRSA in Tennessee. More recent cases have been reported in several Middle Tennessee counties.

Stopping the Spread:

Steps to decrease the possibility of developing MRSA include:

Washing hands frequently with warm, soapy water.
Using 60 %alcohol-based hand gel if soap and water are not available.
Keeping hands away from the face, including the nose, eyes and mouth.
No sharing personal items like make-up, bar soap, razors, towels, washcloths, clothes or athletic equipment.

If participating in sporting activities or exercise, showering immediately afterwards, washing with soap and hot water.

Washing towels, washcloths, and practice uniforms after every use in hot water and soap, and drying in a hot dryer.

Avoiding contact with the skin infection of others.

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